Saturday 23rd December 2006:
Song Recital by Elizabeth Watts (soprano) and Paul Plummer (piano)
Britten:Procession (from Ceremony of Carols)
Barber:Hermit Songs Op.29
Pedrell:Panxolifia de Nadal (Spanish Carol)
Wolf:Four Songs from the Spanisches Liederbuch
French Trad.: Patapan
Ravel:Noel des jouets
Menasce:Deux lettres d'enfants
Purcell arr.P.Plummer:Five Songs
Rubbra:Hymn to the Virgin
Head:Little Road to Bethlehem
Warlock:Adam lay y bounden
Gurney:Carol of the Skiddaw Yowes
Hughes:O men from the fields
Howells:Come sing and dance
Born in 1979, Elizabeth Watts was a chorister at Norwich Cathedral and studied archaeology at Sheffield University, graduating with first class honours. In 2002 she won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music, where she studied with Lillian Watson on the Advanced Opera studies course at the Benjamin Britten International Opera School. She graduated in 2005 with distinction and the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Rose Bowl, awarded annually for outstanding achievement. During her time at the RCM Elizabeth was generously supported by the Countess of Munster and Madeline Finden Trusts, Wingate and Miriam Licette Scholarships, and Ian Fleming and Sybil Tutton awards.
Elizabeth immediately went on to join English National Opera as a Company Artist in the ENO Young Singers' Programme where she made her debut as Papagena ( Die Zauberflote ) in September 2005 and covered the role of Atalanta in Xerxes . Future roles this season are Music and Hope (Orfeo ) and a role in King Arthur , the latter a new production in collaboration with the Mark Morris Dance Company. Elizabeth will reprise her role in Orfeo with the Boston Handel and Haydn Society and perform King Arthur in Berkeley, California in September this year.
Selected for representation by YCAT in 2004, Elizabeth has also won the RCM Lies Askonas Prize, the Maggie Teyte Prize and the Royal Over-Seas League vocal section prize. Her operatic work includes the roles of Flora in the Music Theatre Wales / ROH co-production of Tippett's The Knot Garden , the title role in a British Youth Opera production of Handel's Semele and the role of Arthébuze in a semi-staged performance of Charpentier's Actéon conducted by Emmanuelle Haïm at the Aldeburgh Festival. Roles at the RCM include Flora ( Turn of the Screw ), Poppea ( Agrippina ), Elmira ( Sosarme ), Fulvia ( Ezio ) and Constance ( Carmelites ).
An alumna of the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, Elizabeth has appeared at the Purcell Room, Bridgewater Hall, Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Aldeburgh Festival. She has been a regular guest on Radio 3's In Tune including a recent live performance of songs by Schubert, Caplet and Barber. She sang the role of Flora in a concert performance of Turn of the Screw at the Cheltenham International Festival and has recently appeared with the RLPO and CBSO. Future plans include a return visit to Wigmore Hall with Roger Vignoles (16 October) and concerts in Sheffield, Kings Lynn, Highgate, Lewes, Newbury and the Gower peninsula.
‘Exquisitely sung with crystal clear diction' Opera Magazine - Music Theatre Wales
‘...and there was the vocally stunning young soprano, Elizabeth Watts, in the thankless role of Flora…If Ms Watts isn't on the brink of an illustrious career I'll be surprised.' Opera Now
'Outstanding among the cast was Elizabeth Watts, who sang Flora with a lovely clean shine'. The Telegraph
‘Watts pliant, direct soprano has a shimmer and spin that recalls the (very) young Victoria de los Angeles'. The Independent - London Handel Festival
‘Watts….was the singer of the vening, her voice possessing a sweetness of tone combined with a power and evenness throughout the registers. Theses, as well as her superlative dramatic skills, were made most evident in the extraordinary Act Three lament for the supposedly-slain Ezio'. - London Handel Festival
‘Elizabeth Watts as Fulvia delivers some astonishingly intense and beautifully modulated singing'. The Guardian - London Handel Festival
Artist Information: Paul Plummer
Paul Plummer was educated at New College, Oxford where he gained the FRCO and a BA degree, before attending the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as a post-graduate student of piano accompaniment in 1995. He has studied with Andrew Ball, Graham Johnson, Malcolm Martineau, David Owen-Norris and Roger Vignoles, and in the summer of 1997 was the Wilhemina Sandwen Fellow in vocal coaching and accompaniment at the Tanglewood Music Centre. From 1998 to 2000 he was Geoffrey Parsons Junior Fellow at the Royal College of Music where he is now busy as an
accompanist and coach of singers at all levels.
Described in the European press as a “superb accompanist...with remarkably imaginative interpretations”, “with great possession” (The Glasgow Herald, The Independent), "able and sensitive" (Bonn General-Anzeiger), his work with singers has taken him across the UK and further afield. He has performed with singers of the calibre of Stephen Roberts, James Bowman and Henry Herford. Along with the CD Carte Postale (with Simon Gay, Cardinal Records), he has recently made a CD of English song with the tenor Mark Wilde. Recent concert engagements have included
playing the piano solo in Constant Lambert's The Rio Grande, performing with the Orchestra of St. John's Smith Square in Le Bal Masqué (Poulenc) and playing alongside David Owen-Norris in Carmina Burana for the Oxford Bach Choir. Other events have included recitals at the Royal Opera House (Linbury Studio Theatre), the Swaledale Festival, and Canterbury Sounds New festival (in a recital with James Bowman), adjudicating the piano competitions at various public schools and making a CD of Jewish music with "Laudibus". Work for Radio 3 includes an invitation concert appearance with Lontano and the BBC Singers, a recorded Purcell Room concert, and a full studio recital with the soprano Rachel Nicholls. Recitals in 2002-3 include engagements with Thomas Guthrie at the Purcell Room and Burgh House, Hampstead (for the British Association of
Pyschotherapists), a Little Missenden Festival recital with Eamonn Dougan, and a programme of English Song for the Three Choirs' Festival 2003 with the tenor Nathan Vale.
He has since December 1996 also been the regular pianist for the ensemble Cantabile with whom he has toured Italy, Turkey, Germany and Holland as well as frequently performing in UK venues including the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Leeds Civic Theatre, and before an audience of more than 40,000 in the 1998 Proms in the Park. In December 1999 he played for the group in 15 cabaret performances at the Bar jeder Vernunft in central Berlin. From 1997 to 2002 Paul was
Director of Music at St. Stephen's Church, Gloucester Road, where besides running the church's liturgical music he established the church's renowned "Rush-Hour Recital Series". He is also the Musical Director of the West London Vocal Ensemble with whom he has recently given concerts in central venues of Prague and Vienna.
"a superb accompanist... [who gave] remarkably imaginative interpretations"... The Glasgow Herald